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Tarps have been pulled off the greens at Settlers Bay Golf Course

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 11:15 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The moment golfers across Southcentral Alaska look forward to all winter has arrived. The tarps have now been pulled at Settlers Bay Golf Course and all greens are expected to be ready for this coming weekend.

As the maintenance crew pulled back all 18 tarps, one could see the lush, green grass that has been protected by the tarps while it grew. However, it was far from easy, according to Superintendent and General Manager Amos Stephens, who said that two of the past three winters have been the hardest on the course in his 22 years of experience.

“The grass took one deep breath and then tried to go five months and it didn’t make it out too well,” Stephens said, smiling.

Stephens and his maintenance team use tarps to breathe life back into the greens. The tarp creates a greenhouse effect that helps raise the temperature by 15 degrees on average. Warming up the soil temperatures is necessary for seeds to germinate and grow past the seeding phase. The tarps also help keep seeds in place so the grass grows evenly.

“The other important thing about the cover is when we are throwing irrigation water, the cover is a barrier to displacement to the seed,” Stephens said. “So the seed is basically getting a trickle effect from the cover. The cover absorbs all the water from the splash of it falling and then it gently falls down on the seed, and therefore, we don’t have all the displacement and we have a much smoother seedbed.”

Settlers Bay is not only trying to grow their greens, but also the game. The course offers what they call “Sunday Family Night,” where families can come to play for $10, which includes a cart as well. The nine-hole game starts after 5 p.m. on Sundays. Families must play with someone under age 17 to participate in family night prices.

The course’s golf professional Becky Gerritsen is also offering two different junior golf clinics in the summer, as well as women’s events. The course also offers a non-committal Wednesday night league. Interested golfers can find more information on its website.

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